Diyarbakır, Nov 28 () - Tahir Elçi, the head of the Bar Association in Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır, was killed in a gun attack following a press meeting, as one policeman was also killed in a clash.
The Diyarbakır Bar said in a tweet that it was an assassination.
Curfew was imposed in the Diyarbakır town of Sur, where the attack took place. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed in a speech in Balıkesir that both were killed.
"This incident shows how righteous is Turkey in its determination in struggle against terrorism," Erdoğan said, vowing to continue the struggle until the end.
Three policemen were wounded, repots said, as circumstances remained unclear.
Elçi and accompanying lawyers made a press meeting on the damage of the earlier clashes in Sur before the gun shots were heard.
Eye witnesses said that one bearded man fired at Elçi, but it is still uncertain whether the bar chief was targeted.
Anadolu Agency reporter Aziz Aslan was also wounded.
A Turkish prosecutor demanded last month up to seven years and six months in jail for Elçi on the grounds of “making propaganda of a terror organization” after remarks he made regarding the PKK.
The Istanbul Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office prepared the indictment after Elçi said “the PKK is not a terror organization” during a live TV show on private broadcaster CNNTürk on Oct. 14. It demanded that he be jailed for from one year and six months to seven years and six months.
Elçi was first detained by police in Diyarbakır late on Oct. 19 and was released on probation on Oct. 20, but he was barred from traveling out of Turkey.
The indictment was sent to the Bakırköy 2nd Court of Serious Crimes, along with a statement about why the PKK should be defined as a terror organization.
Stating that the PKK should be defined as a terror organization because its actions contained elements of violence, the indictment said there was always a legal and legitimate way to obtain rights and resorting to violence was never legitimate.
Elçi’s background in law was also mentioned in the indictment, which stated that “as a lawyer he should have known what an offense is and what it not … He should have calculated the social effect of his words due to the social position he holds.”
The Bakırköy 2nd Court of Serious Crimes is expected to decide within 15 days whether or not to accept or reject the indictment.
“I stand behind my words and believe that they are true. The words I said cannot constitute a crime,” Elçi said after being released on probation on Oct. 20.